Bulletin for Sunday, September 26, 2021

WELCOME TO

ST. JOHN’S UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

223 West College Avenue, Bluffton, OH   45817

September 26, 2021

Seventeenth Sunday after Pentecost

 Rev. Katherine Beckett (567-226-1009)  Church (419-358-5641)

E-mail:      blufftonstjohnsucc@gmail.com

Website:    www.blufftonstjohns.com

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No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here!

Prelude  “Holy Is the Lord with Lord, I Lift Your Name on High”

                                                                    arr. Anna Laura Page

Welcome

*Opening Hymn      “God Is Here”                        P. 1     (vs. 1 & 4)

*Call to Worship  (based on Psalm 118)

One:   Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

Many: his love endures forever.

One:   In our anguish we cried to the LORD, and he answered by

setting us free. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

Many: his love endures forever.

One:   The LORD is our strength and our song; he has become our

salvation. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

Many: his love endures forever.

One:   We will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD

has done. Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;

Many: his love endures forever.

One:   The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;

Many: The LORD has done this; and it is marvelous in

 our eyes.

One:   This is the day the LORD has made;

Many: let us rejoice and be glad in it

*Opening Prayer

O Creator God of the risen Christ, in whose resurrection we

find new life, send your Spirit to dwell among us in this day of

worship.  O risen Christ, Son of the Creator, may we hear your

word of peace today.  O Spirit of the living God, teach us once

more to live in the power of Christ’s resurrection, in whose

name we pray.  Amen.

Time with the Children

Hymn    “Lord of the Dance”                      P. 118    (vs. 1, 3, 4, 5)

Prayer for Illumination (based on Psalm 90)

Holy God, you have been our dwelling place throughout all

generations.  From everlasting to everlasting, you are God.

Speak to us now as you have spoken to us throughout the

ages. Reveal yourself and your will for our lives so that we

might live as your Easter people. Amen.

Reading from Hebrew Prophets                        Isaiah 65: 17-25

Reading from Church History                            Acts 10:34-43

Reading from the Gospel                                     Luke 24:1-12

Sermon      Thinking Outside the Box     Rev. Katherine Beckett

*Hymn      “Joy to the World”                     P. 179      (vs. 1, 2, 4)

Pastoral Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer

*Closing Hymn     “Praise to the Lord”               P. 71  (vs. 1, 4)

*Benediction

Announcements

*Postlude   “Fugue in C Major”                 G. F. Handel

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*Please stand if you are able.

Loving Spirit, we pray for all who are gathered for this worship service. May each of us hear from you what we most need in order to grow in faith, hope and love. Amen.

Flowers this morning are given by Jenny Bracy in celebration of what would have been the 65th wedding anniversary of her parents, Wilbur and Fran Bracy.

Following worship this morning, there will be a meeting of all women and men to discuss an upcoming outreach event.  The meeting takes place in Opperman Hall.

Rehearsals for Bluffton University’s 126th performance of Handel’s “Messiah” begin on Tuesday, September 28, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., in the Gilliom Room, Mosiman Hall.  Anyone interested in singing is welcome to attend.  Masks are required during rehearsals.  Dr. Bo Young Kang is the conductor.

Attendance on Sunday, September 19 was 26 persons.

Sunday, October 3, the Neighbors in Need offering will be collected, and World Communion Sunday will be celebrated.

Also, Sunday, October 3, at 7 p.m., the Gomer Congregational Church will host the 104th Annual Gymanfa Ganu which is “A Singing Festival”.  Details of the weekend events, which include a chicken barbecue on Saturday, October 2, are posted on the sanctuary bulletin board.

Volunteer opportunities are available at the Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio, which include Mennonite Memorial Home, Willow Ridge, Hilty Home and Maple Crest.  Persons interested in volunteering may contact Chris Moser at cmoser@mhcoliving.org or 419-358-1015, ext. 263.  A list of volunteer positions available is posted on the sanctuary bulletin board.

This Week at St. John’s:

Tuesday, September 28—Ladies meet, 10 a.m., location to be decided

Wednesday, September 29—Men meet at Arby’s, 8:30 a.m.

Optimism grounded in hope

“I am fundamentally an optimist,” said anti-apartheid leader

Nelson Mandela. “Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair..”

Some say optimism is naïve, “a generic good idea about the future” (Walter Brueggemann, Reverberations of Faith), and distinguish it from hope. But Mandela’s 27 years in prison and other sufferings would indicate that, in his case, optimism is anchored in deep hope.

Our hope is grounded in God’s power to bring life from death, primarily in Jesus’ resurrection, and in other acts of deliverance. God brings joy from sorrow, healing from brokenness, love from hate. We can’t fathom what goodness awaits us down the road (Could Mandela, in prison, imagine becoming South Africa’s first black president?!), so we keep looking up and moving forward. Such optimism is rooted in profound hope — and is a gift of God.   (September 2020 NewsletterNewsletter)

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